Internet in the Asia Pacific: Big opportunity, big responsibility

By on 21 Nov 2014

Categories: Policy, Community, Development

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After my recent election to the NRO NC, I’m grateful to the entire community and am glad to be posting my first piece on this blog.

First, I thank all folks for trusting me for the position in the NRO NC. Currently, I am Joint Secretary, Department of Electronics & Information Technology and Director General, National Informatics Centre, in the Government of India and also represent India on the GAC of ICANN. As I’ll be formally serving as a member of the NRO NC from next year, I would use my position to effectively represent and articulate the Asia-Pacific’s and developing countries’ perspectives. With the expansion of the Internet and more and more devices being added, the importance of efficient and equitable allocation of number resources will only increase and this is to be addressed.

APNIC and the Internet community in India have had a long and rewarding association. Asia Pacific constitutes 56 economies. But, unlike any other region in the world, with a population of 3.9 billion, it exhibits strong diversity and challenges. On one hand, it has countries which rank amongst the highest in the world with regards to Internet penetration and speed. On the other hand, it also includes those which are amongst the lowest on these paradigms, and the countries like India, China, Indonesia and Pakistan which stand on the middle of this continuum, and which are large enough to constitute nearly 40% the world’s population.

With an Internet penetration of about 32% in Asia, APNIC has a tremendous role to play through its policies, not to just enhance Internet penetration in the region, but in fact to change people’s lives. Whether it is through the implementation of IPv6 and encouraging its adoption or participating in other policy development processes crucial to the maintenance and development of the Internet, the APNIC community has the task of representing the interests of the huge user community of this region.

The role played by the RIRs and the NRO will be particularly crucial as we enter the age of the Internet of Things. For example, India under the ambit of the ‘Digital India’ programme plans to revolutionize governance, commerce and people’s everyday lives by leveraging technology to the maximum. Various initiatives will have a direct impact on number resources – ‘smart cities’ will mean embedded networked sensors; smart transportation will require networked vehicles and infrastructure. As these plans are implemented, and the number of networked devices explodes, there will be a huge requirement for efficient allocation of number resources and technical solutions to address new challenges.

Finally, in the broader context of the global Internet, APNIC and the NRO must also play a responsible and constructive role in the IANA transition and related processes, as stakeholders and community representatives. The continued stability and smooth functioning of the Internet is of major significance to the Asia-Pacific region, with advanced technology being a major driver of growth. It is essential that the processes which have been set in motion take into account the needs and aspirations of the global Internet community, and within this framework APNIC has the responsibility of representing the region with the highest number of Internet users and the highest potential for growth in the near future.

Dr Ajay Kumar is the Joint Secretary, Department of Electronics & Information Technology and Director General, National Informatics Centre, Government of India,  represents India on the GAC of ICANN, is a member of ISOC‘s Delhi chapter and was recently elected to the NRO NC.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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